Otis Brown III, the go-to-drummer and sideman for so many other artists, steps out front with his compelling debut recording. The Thought of You is a bold effort which blends various sonic tapestries together to make for an engaging musical endeavor. Co-produced by Brown and bassist Derrick Hodge, the project is really forward-thinking, merging technology with solid musicianship in a very engaging manner. Brown incorporates audio recordings connected to his spirituality into original compositions based on similar themes. Helping to add color to the notes is an outstanding lineup of players, including pianist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Keyon Harold, saxophonist John Ellis, bassist Ben Williams, as well as guests organist Shedrick Mitchell and guitarist Nir Felder. Vocalists Gretchen Parlato, Bilal and Nikki Ross deliver wonderful contributions to the effort. The effort is a fine example of how music can be personal, spiritual and contemporary within the jazz artform.
Click to listen to a clip of “The Thought of You (Part 1)”:
Tracks: The Way (Truth & Life), The Thought of You (Part 1), Interlude 1 -Truth, Stages of Thought, The Two Become One (For Paula), You’re Still The One, The Thought of You (Part 2), I Love You Lord/We Exalt Thee/In The Beginning, The Thought of You (Part 3), I Am Your Song, Interlude 2 – Life.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The Music Conservatory of Westchester, a nonprofit community music school in White Plains, recently held its 85th Anniversary Jazz Brunch at Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown. Source: White Plains Daily Voice
Vincent Lyn has had a diverse career as a kickboxing champion, model and actor, and he’s also accomplished pianist. Lyn is captured Live In New York City on this effort in a return engagement at Carnegie Hall in December 2013. The recording is a fantastic showcase of Lyn’s talents as not only a musician but as composer, with the project comprised mainly of his original works. The set also features really well-done rendition of classical compositions as well. Lyn leads an outstanding roster, which includes saxophonist Melissa Aldana, bassist Pablo Menares and Shirazette Tinnin. There’s a good musical chemistry between the players that makes for some quality performances and an enjoyable listen.
Click to listen to a clip of “Claire De Lune / Flamenco Sketches”:
Tracks: Amor Por Favor, Claire De Lune / Flamenco Sketches, Sonata In E Flat, The Loving Touch, Gay’s Blues, Swan, The Secret Garden, Sonata In C Minor (Pathetique), Cantowood, 4 Crazies, What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life, Make Me A Memory, Stolen Moments.
With all the releases we receive each week, sometimes one may unintentionally slip by us, but in going back through the vast releases, are we ever glad we discovered this one by Nicola Conte. Free Soul is an outstanding showcase of the wares of Italy-based talented guitarist and producer. Though recording is very vocal-driven, the arrangements allow the musical performances to shine through. Comprised of mostly original compositions, there’s kind of a retro sound to this effort that feels a bit like 60’s soul meet jazz in the twenty-first century. Among the album’s featured vocalists are Jose James, Marvin Parks, Bridgette Amofah, Melanie Charles and Heidi Vogel. The band is tight with Greg Osby on alto sax (for one tune), Magnus Lindgren on tenor sax and flutes, Francesco Lento on trumpet, Luca Alemanno on bass and Pietro Lussu on piano, just to name a few. The production quality is superb and makes for a very entertaining result. A truly first-rate creation that thankfully made our review cut.
Click to listen to a clip of “Baltimore Oriole”:
Tracks: Shades of Joy, Goddess of The Sea, Free Souls, Spirit of Nature, Ode To Billie Joe, Soul Revelation, Ahmad’s Blues, If I Should Lose You, Baltimore Oriole, Uhuru, Sandalia Dela, African Other Blues, Sunrise.